My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

Wedding Survival Tip #4: Make a To Do List

on July 21, 2012

Two weeks to go and I’ll be Ms. Hutchison.  (Or maybe Ms. Hohn-Hutchison, Ms. Hohn Hutchison, Mrs. Hutchisohn, Mrs. Hohnison, or simply Ms. Hohn.  I ‘m still figuring this one out.  My feminist-side says keep my name.  My tradition-oriented side says I am embarking on a new life and will be making a new family with my beloved.)

Insert scream: Aaaaaah!!!!!!  Now that I’ve got that out of my system.

Should I be wearing this t-shirt?

I sort of picture a Black feminist to look her… Dr. Angela Davis

Or will I be the traditional wife with a modern twist like Michelle Obama? Educated, poised, accomplished, loves her husband and kids, and takes her husband’s last name.

I can’t believe that all of our plotting and scheming and planning of our wedding has already brought us less than two weeks away from my wedding.  I was hoping to make this blog a weekly post and even more frequently since I have been on summer holidays.  However, I have been sooooooo busy with wedding plans that I have been absent from blogging for the last twenty days.  My helpful TO-DO list has expanded and with the major stuff taken care of, there are so many little things to do.  Here is a condensed version of my completed TO-DO list which I condensed thanks to lots of internet searches.


 4 Months Before Your Destination Wedding 

__X_ Decide on a wedding budget

__X__ Find your wedding style

__X__ Announce your engagement

__X__ Choose a wedding date

__X__ Choose a wedding location. You might also want to read about beach wedding tips and how to have a perfect outdoor wedding.

__X__ Research the location, including using online resources, renting books from the library, purchasing books, talking to the local tourist bureau, and talking to friends and family who have been there. Ask resorts for “package deal information”, special honeymoon/destination wedding offers, and other informative literature.

__X__ Look into marriage license requirements, and confirm them with the local tourist board

__X__ Find a local wedding coordinator – resorts often have someone on staff or you may be able to find someone through the tourist bureau.

_X___ Put together a wedding guest list

__X__ Send “Save the Date” cards

__X__ Follow up with guests by phone to get a general head coun

__X__ If you want a traditional wedding dress, find it now

__X__ Start considering the wedding party’s attire

__X__ Obtain necessary legal documents, including, if necessary, passports, divorce certificates, visas, identification, birth certificates, notarized declarations of never having been married.

__X__ Consider your Bridal Beauty

__X__ Work with your wedding coordinator to find a wedding florist, musicians, wedding photographer and wedding officiant. You may also want to find a hairstylist, makeup artist, and/or nail salon.

__X__ Decide on your wedding menu and cake

__X__ Finalize wedding ceremony and reception details, arrange for signed contracts to be sent to you.

__X__ Order wedding invitations

__X__ Register for wedding gifts

__X__ Buy wedding rings. Consider having your wedding rings engraved.

__X__ Buy your plane tickets

__X__ Negotiate discounts with airlines and hotels

__X__ Create and distribute a wedding website or newsletter to share travel and wedding information

__X__ Finalize the groom’s attire

__X__ Write and order your wedding invitations

__X_ Obtain your passports

_X_ Shop for resort/honeymoon wear

2 to 4 Months Before Your Destination Wedding

_X__ Mail your wedding invitations

__X_ Begin choosing or writing your wedding vows

__X_ Shop for shoes and other accessories

__X_ Make sure all of the wedding party and other essential people have made their travel arrangements

_X__ Finalize the bridal party attire

1 to 2 Months Before Your Destination Wedding

_X__ Order wedding favors and gifts

__X_ Shop for vacation wear, including swimsuit(s), a rehearsal dinner outfit, sun protection

_X__ Make arrangements to pick up your dress or have it delivered.

_X__ Write your vows and choose the readings for your ceremony.

_X__ Ensure hotel reservations for your guests have been completed

_X__ Arrange how your welcome bag items, favors and decorations will be delivered to your hotel.

My version of this list is a bit longer… and much more detailed.  Perhaps I should scale back a bit but nevertheless, my TO DO LIST is helping me to stay on track.

In the meantime, it has not only been “all work” and no play.  Lots has happened in the last two and a half weeks.


* Bridesmaid Appreciation Night with my maids of honour and honourary bridesmaid.  I went for a lovely dinner at Vegetarian Haven and class at Flirty Girl Fitness.  Then I met up with my maids of honour to see the new film Magic Mike.  I will post photos soon.

Let’s see what Magic Mike can do.

* Gorgeous Bridal Shower with friends, relatives, neighbours, and family organized by maids of honour, mother, and mother-in-law held at my mother’s house.  Played games, ate lovely food, and took lots of photos which I will post very soon.  They did an amazing job transforming the home I grew up into a bridal shower oasis complete with lanterns, patio, and delicious food.  I received a box full of “Recipes for Marriage” and a scrapbook album filled with letters.  I am so thankful for the positivity, advice, and gifts.

My sister Tierra and I at my bridal shower. I’m getting married y’all… I’m getting married y’all… uh uh uh.

* A second smaller shower with my honourary bridesmaid Njeri and my two close friends Marla and Denise who will not be able to attend the wedding.  I asked Njeri to plan this shower since I wanted a small and intimate send-off with my friends.  I also wanted to do a ritual, make something creative that I could take with me to Jamaica.  We took the ferry to Centre Island where we had a picnic dinner of yummy vegan food from One Love.  Njeri smudged a circle using sage around the table which eventually served to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  Each of us created waist beads, chains of beads worn around the waist which have been worn by West African women for centuries.  During this time, Marla, Denise, and Njeri shared their best wishes for me and my new marriage as well as a beautiful poster and box decorated with their words and images.  I will post photos soon.

Waist beads… an ancient West African tradition. Many of my ancestors were slaves brought from West Africa.  That’s not my waist by the way.

* A mini-getaway and third small shower.  I wanted to have a getaway, a trip as a “single” woman, a roadtrip reminiscent of my years in my twenties when I toured my film festival across Canada and lived, worked, and studied in Quebec and Nova Scotia.  I love travelling– by boat, plane, car, and train.  Since I could not afford the time to “take off” for a number of days nor the money to make such a trip before the wedding, I compromised.  I went to Waterloo.  My friends who I met while studying university invited me to Waterloo for our traditional HOGWASH shower.  (Each time one of us gets married, we organize a shower for each other.)  This time, I decided to spend the time at the Little City Farm, a bed and breakfast which is also an eco-friendly sustainable urban farm in Kitchener.  (It has always been a wish of mine to stay at Little City Farm, one of my Funky Sexy Manifestos after completing a large chunk of my thyroid cancer treatment.)  I had a nice restful time connecting with my HOGWASH friends– eating barbeque, shopping in St. Jacob’s, and sharing desserts.  I will post photos really soon.

Little City Farm in Kitchener

My HOGWASH Shower… an age-old tradition.  Susan and Nadine (left to right) will join us in Jamaica.  I miss you Amy.

* And delegating, going to dress fittings, attending a bridal shower and wedding, shopping, e-mails, phone calls, making cake toppers, trials of make-up and hairstyles,  following-up, dance lessons,  filling out forms, making lists and checking them wice… and making time for my honey.

Each one is a step to the big day when I marry the man that I love in front of the people I love.

Aisle be ready! (Badoom Ching)


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